Are you at risk of getting the flu? Prevention is better than cure!

As flu cases double in a week, HPSC urges ‘at risk’ groups to get vaccinated!

The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre urged people in high-risk groups to get vaccinated against influenza, as the number of reported cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) in Ireland has almost doubled in the past week and flu is now actively circulating in the community.

People who are at risk of the complications of flu need to get vaccinated against the disease now.

The vaccine is available in your local Sam McCauley Chemist.

 Those at risk include:

  • Everyone aged 65 years and over
  • Anyone over six months of age with a long term illness requiring regular medical follow-up such as chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease or diabetes
  • Pregnant women
  • Those with lower immunity due to disease or treatment
  • Children or teenagers on long-term aspirin therapy
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long stay facilities
  • Healthcare workers and carers

People who were vaccinated last year still need to get their flu jab this year as immunity from the vaccine lasts twelve months and wanes over time.

Flu is different from the common cold.  Flu usually develops quickly over a matter of hours and symptoms include a high temperature, sore muscles, dry cough, headache and sore throat. The common cold tends to come on gradually and symptoms usually include a runny nose and a normal temperature.  Anyone in the at-risk categories who develops influenza symptoms should contact their GP.

Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough and sneeze, disposing of the tissue as soon as possible and cleaning your hands as soon as you can are important measures in helping prevent the spread of germs and reducing the risk of transmission.

How to prevent the Flu:

Wash your hands often. This is probably the single best measure to prevent transmission of colds and flu.  Especially after shopping, going to the gym, or spending time in public places, hand washing is critical. Frequent hand washing can destroy viruses that you have acquired from touching surfaces used by other people. It is useful to carry a small hand sanitiser which will kill 99% of flu viruses. These can be obtained in your local Sam McCauley Chemist.

Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoke can irritate the airways and increase susceptibility to colds, flus and other infections. Even exposure to passive smoke can make you (or your children) more vulnerable to colds. Give up now, your local pharmacist can advise

Make sure your immune system is in good shape. Taking high dose vitamin C or Echinacea can help boost the immune system which can help fight colds and flus more effectively.

Use tissues and throw them away! These are great for preventing the spread of cold and flu, but remember that they can harbour viruses and contaminate any surface they come in contact with.

Drink plenty of fluid! Avoid becoming dehydrated – a typical healthy adult needs around 1.5 litres of water each day. Drinking water flushes out your system and helps keep your immune system strong.

For more information please visit your local Sam McCauley Pharmacist, or leave a comment and we’ll get right back to you!

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